Despite disappearing from the public eye for several months after his surprise resignation last year, Sir John Key remains in the spotlight on the NBR Rich List - with an estimated $65 million fortune.

The former Prime Minister, who has also held the position of Minister of Tourism, will take up his latest appointment to Air New Zealand's board in September.

Key is not the only famous face on the list - with film makers Sir Peter Jackson and James Cameron also featuring.

Sir Peter Jackson - number 17 $630m
The New Zealand face behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, Jackson has been a regular on the NBR Rich List.

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Jackson has retained his $630m estimated net worth but fallen two places from number 15 last year to 17 this year.

As well as his work with J.R.R Tolkien's books, Jackson has worked on movies including King Kong, The Lovely Bones and The Adventures of Tintin - to name a few.

Jackson has several projects on the go both in a directorship capacity and through several of the film-related companies he part owns - most notably Weta Digital.

Jackson has received commendations for much of his work including the Lord of the Rings which alone received 475 accolades from across the film industry.

This included the third instalment, Return of the King, which won a record 11 Oscars.

Jackson and his wife Fran Walsh were named Supreme Award winners at this year's Kea World Class New Zealand Awards in June.

Jackson and Walsh set up a new company in March with billionaire Canadian filmmaker James Cameron and his wife.

The purpose and role of the company, PBT New Zealand, is currently unclear.

Peter Jackson at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Photo/Mark Mitchell
Peter Jackson at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Photo/Mark Mitchell

Eric Watson - number 31 $420m

Watson is a familiar face in a number of circles.

Formerly married to model Nicky Watson, the co-owner of league team the Warriors has a number of investments through his firm Cullen Investments.

The firm has interests in a range of companies including lingerie company Bendon, racehorses through Watson Bloodstock, Soul bar and restaurant, gas and oil assets and a significant property portfolio.

Watson too has maintained his estimated net worth at $420m, putting him at number 31 on the list.

Watson bought Bendon in 2002 for $59 million. Within five years, its turnover was said to have almost doubled, from about $80 million to about $150 million.

Bendon has recently been in the news for a proposed reverse takeover of Nasdaq-listed Naked Brand Group which Watson said would give the company room to grow in the US market.

Eric Watson is the founder and executive chairman of international private investment company Cullen Investments. Photo/NZME
Eric Watson is the founder and executive chairman of international private investment company Cullen Investments. Photo/NZME

Sir John Key - number 184 $65m

The country's 24th Prime Minister, Key has seen his net worth increase $5m in the past year putting him at number 184 on the Rich List.

Key's resignation late last year came as a shock to the country. He subsequently stepped out of the limelight for a few months before announcing he was taking up a position on the Air New Zealand board in September.

Key made his money as a currency trader and owns several properties around New Zealand and the world.

He famously did not take a salary for his role as Prime Minister.

The business world has continued to speculate on what other roles Key will add to his portfolio now he has stepped away from politics.

Sir Russell Coutts - number 200 $55m

New Zealand's highest-profile international yachtsman sits at number 200 on this year's Rich List, with his estimated net worth unchanged from last year's $55m.

Coutts was chief executive of this year's America's Cup regatta, which was held in Bermuda.

He has spent his life in the industry. In 1979, as a 17-year-old, he won the national Laser title.

Two years later he was the single-handed world youth champion.

In 1983 he made his mark in the difficult Finns, a single-handed yacht with a whippy mast.

In 1992, juggling his commitments to world match racing championship as well as preparing for his Olympic campaign, Coutts was a revelation.

He won the Steinlager/Logan Cup, the Omega Gold Cup in Bermuda, the Nippon Cup and the World Match Racing Championship and the following year was just as dominant.

The current chief executive of Oracle Team USA, Coutts has won the America's Cup five times.

He skippered New Zealand to victory in 1995 and 2000 and Switzerland in 2003 before switching to a chief executive role with Oracle and winning again in 2010 and 2013.

Russell Coutts, chief executive officer of Team Oracle USA. Photo/supplied
Russell Coutts, chief executive officer of Team Oracle USA. Photo/supplied

James Cameron - number 5 international $1.35b

Although not a New Zealand citizen, filmmaker Cameron's business interests and investments in New Zealand see him sitting on the Rich List's international section at number 5, with an estimated net worth of $1.35b.

Cameron has worked alongside Jackson on numerous films and the pair set up a company PBT New Zealand in March.

Cameron has significant investment in New Zealand outside his work in the film industry, having spent $20 million in 2012 for two rural properties in the Wairarapa totalling more than 1000ha.

Cameron and his wife Suzy also fronted an $11 million-plus campaign last year, aimed at marketing New Zealand overseas.

The Cameron family divide their time between New Zealand and California.

James Cameron, Hollywood's highest earner, responsible for the two highest grossing films of all time, Titanic and Avatar. Photo/supplied
James Cameron, Hollywood's highest earner, responsible for the two highest grossing films of all time, Titanic and Avatar. Photo/supplied